Maharashtrian Cuisine has gradually acquired a good place in my kitchen and diet. Most of the everyday food there is simple, made using minimum ingredients and has a completely different taste than the north Indian cuisine. My friend Preeti who runs a Maharashtrian speciality blog at Ising cakes and more, has been a great inspiration behind the same. Having simple meals a few times at her place, has developed a keen interest of the flavours in me with time. I have discovered various authentic recipes from the state’s cuisine, which I never knew existed. And now they have become a staple in my home.
This recipe of today is one such simple and highly nutritious dish which I only came to know about, when Preeti brought it for me once. We were travelling to London for a blog meet and got stuck in between due to train strike. (horrendous journey that was!). And I started getting hungry as I always do in long journeys. Preeti had got a big box full of some snack as she said and offered me the same. After finishing like half of it and when my mind had got enough energy to think further ahead of food, I asked her what sort of snack is this. I was dwindling between Couscous, quinoa and poha. She surprised me completely by telling me that’s just ground lentils, stir fried with spices. It was embarrassing to an extent, not been able to figure out the main ingredient. But hey, I was hungry and tired!
Never mind. So that was simply Chana dal (Bengal gram) grounded and then roasted with spices. And it tasted so amazingly good! It could be the perfect travel food in my opinion. Since its light on stomach, easy to make, full of protein and super tasty. I begged Preeti to post the recipe of it so I could imitate it to the T. She very sweetly did and its published here.
I am sure in South India, they have a similar dish with them but I don’t know the name. Somebody pls help me out here, ladies! 🙂
When I was making it myself, at first I thought, why Chana Dal and not any other lentil? Then I tried the same with moong dal again once. The taste was somewhat same because I used the same spices. But the texture was totally different, Moong dal got a bit mushy and smooth when cooked and I had to use a little extra oil to keep the crunch intact. Though it tasted amazing as a filling in Kachori later on, I would vouch for the Chana dal to make this particular dish.
This Vatli dal would serve as a great travel food or quick tea time snack. You may do some variations and add some veggies like green peas, carrots etc. to make it even healthier. I have used peanuts into the recipe but that’s totally optional and you may skip the same.
- Serves: 2-4 people
- Cuisine: Maharashtrian, Indian
- Course: Snack, side dish
- Cooking time: 30-35 minutes
- Speciality: Vegan, low fats, high protein
- Recipe source: Ising cakes and more
What you need?
- 1 cup Chana dal (split chickpeas lentil/Bengal gram) – 1 cup
- 1-2 green chilies, chopped small
- A small piece of ginger
- grated a handful of curry leaves
- 1 medium onion, chopped small
- ¼ cup roasted peanuts (optional)
- ¼ cup raw green mango, peeled shredded (optional)
- 2 tbsp grated fresh coconut
- ½ tsp turmeric powder, mustard seeds, cumin seeds each
- ½ tsp red chili powder, coriander powder each
- A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
- Salt to taste – about 1 tsp
- 2 tbsp Oil (I used mustard oil)
- A handful of fresh cilantro (coriander leaves) – for garnish
How to make?
Soak the Channa dal in 2 cups water and keep aside for 4-5 hours. Rinse, drain and keep aside.
Take the drained dal into the blender, add ginger and grind together to a coarse paste. Keep aside
Heat oil in a wok or heavy bottomed pan. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and fry for 10 seconds. When they start to splutter, add chopped onion, curry leaves and green chilies. Sauté for 2-3 more minutes till onions turn pink.
Add in the peanuts and all the spices. Mix well and again sauté for like a minute. Add in the ground lentil paste and stir it around.
Cover and let it cook on medium heat for a 3-4 minutes. Uncover and sauté the contents. Cover and repeat another2-3 times till the dal gets partly soft.
Add in shredded coconut and raw mango. Mix well and let the mixture cook further for 3-4 minutes. It would take about 10-12 minutes for it to be cooked properly. Turn off the flame.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with some chutney, raita or on its own.
I usually keep a batch of peanuts roasted and ready to be used in any dish. If you don’t have roasted peanuts ready, you may use the raw one sand sauté them in the same oil before putting the ground dal in. be careful of not to burn them
If you don’t have time to soak Chana dal for 4-5 hours, soak it in boiling hot water for 1 hour and this will do the trick.
Since we have added raw mango (kairi) in this recipe, it is also known as Kairichi Dal.
Adding raw mango and coconut is totally optional and it worked absolutely fine for me without these two ingredients.
The original recipe didn’t call for onion, its an addition I made. So you may totally ignore that.
If you are looking for more vegan breakfasts, why not try this speciality dish from Maharashtra – Kanda Poha (beaten rice flakes with onion and spices)